App Development Proposal

The final project for EdTech597 is to develop an app of my own choosing. In my previous class (EdTech 532 Games and Simulations) I designed a very large math game that teaches math in the context of internship scenarios. At the beginning of the game, students take and interest inventory. The results are used to place students in fictitious businesses. Their math abilities are assessed in the background, always within the context of their internships. Students learn the math they do not know through the activities and tasks they are assigned to at each company.

The internship game will take a lot of time and resources to develop. The app I am developing for EdTech597 will take me one step closer. The app is one activity within one internship scenario. Students work in a candy factory where candies are sold individually, in trays of 10, and in cartons that hold 10 trays. Working with numbers in this way gives students a context for regrouping. Every 10 candies can fill a tray. Every 10 trays can fill a carton. Cartons and trays can be “regrouped” as needed based on a company’s order.

This week’s assignment was to create an App Development Proposal. I got a little lost in the process because I didn’t have a good understanding of the steps required for this project. I wish we could have had one face-to-face meeting as a class where we could get an overview of the project, ask questions, share ideas, get clarification, etc.

In the process of developing my proposal, I created some of the user interface and see that I have many moving parts that could easily get lost. I will have to be very organized as I create the code blocks or I could easily miss a part that would cause the program to fail. I hope I will able to complete what I have set out to do.

Learning Improves When Content is Personalized

This week provided proof that, at least for me, I am more motivated and struggle less when a lesson is personalized. This week’s app was a game involving a ladybug eating aphids and avoiding being eaten by a frog. My career is in creating math educational materials, so I changed the app to make it a game for PreK-K students learning the numerals 0-9 and their matching number words.

There were several challenges in creating this app. I had to search and find information on a few coding issues (e.g. lists and while) that hadn’t yet been discussed or used in previous apps. In the process, I discovered a bug in App Inventor that makes the tilt functionality work in a opposite way in Android OS 2 than in versions 3 and 4.

After several unsuccessful attempts at getting the initial instruction screen to show up first, I was about to throw in the towel when a helpful friend pointed out that I had used a capital letter in one place but not in another. This actually helped me feel more confident in my ability to get the code right. I just need to be more careful with the details.

In previous weeks, I have not put in this much time in developing the apps. I have been more frustrated over issues that were minor in comparison to what I was up against this week. I was more interested in puzzling out the problems I faced because the app felt more meaningful to me.

If I had waited until this weekend to begin work on the app, I would have never accomplished as much. I needed the whole week to mull over possible solutions, test little bits at a time, and go away to think about alternate solutions.

Creating apps using App Inventor takes time, but it is time well worth it when you are creating something you are interested in.

Please try this app yourself. I’d love to know how it works for you. If your device runs on Android 2, the right/left tilt may work in reverse. Use this QR Code to download the app.

QR Code

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Game Flow

In previous posts I have outlined pieces of my math game idea. In the diagram below, I have attempted to illustrate the game flow. The initial clouds outline the entry into the game. The first cloud is where the animation I posted yesterday will appear. The rest of the diagram takes you through the player’s journey.

As mentioned in this post, players will be presented with a task list. The initial list will be based on their performance on the initial, embedded assessment.

After completing each task, the player will have the option to choose another. New tasks may be added to the list as a player’s skill set improves. Tasks may also be added as bonuses or to provide foundation for tasks players were unable to complete.

The game goal is met when a player completes all tasks needed to show mastery of the Common Core State Standards expected for a given grade. If the player is self directed, they will be given access to tasks beyond assigned grade level. Teachers may also choose to grant access to these tasks to students at their discretion.

AECT Standards

1.0 Design — The design of this game is based on my learning theories mash up. It takes into account a learner’s current skill level, interests, and preferences. The instructional strategies used by the game are based on students’ need to understand math skills on a conceptual level as well as seeing how math is used in a real way. The overall message of the game is that math is interwoven into everyday activities.